The History of the Bell
Each Thanksgiving morning, Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern meet in football in the biggest game of the year in town. The rivalry started in 1959, the year that Bristol High was split into two high schools. At the time, Bristol High had been playing Torrington in an annual Thanksgiving day game, but with the two schoolss a new natural rivalry was born.
Once it was decided that Central and Eastern High School would meet on Thanksgiving, there still remained an important question. What should the trophy look like that the winning team gets to keep at their school for the ensuing year? (In the event of a tie game, the trophy will remain at each school for six months.) Well, the Bristol Brass Corporation solved that problem. For reasons unknown, Bristol Brass Corporation was very generous and presented an old school bell used in New England county schools in colonial days. (Probably late 1600’s and early 1700’s) The bell was presented to the Bristol Athletic Department in 1959. Mr. Donald Gay, sales manager at Bristol Brass, made the presentation for his mother, Mrs. Fritz W. Gay, of Newport, New Hampshire, on behalf of the Bristol Brass Corporation. The bell was originally part of an extensive bell collection of Mrs. Gay’s. Bristol Brass made and provided the base for the brass bell also. The bell is mounted between two brass goal posts, symbolic of a football game.
The Bristol Press, Nov. 23, 1959
The Bristol Press, Special Insert on the Battle for the Bell, Nov. 1984